• Matt Beaney

#462 (19/10/21) RIVERS OF LIVING WATER


INTRODUCTION

Over the last three weeks, our devotionals have been based on our vision at CCP. If you are not a part of our church, I trust that you are still finding these reflections helpful.


Our vision is to be a church community that is,

“Bringing people to Jesus - myself, one another and my community”




This week we are focussing on what it means to bring ‘Our Community’ to Jesus.




This promise from Jesus in John 7, makes it clear that we can only have the rivers flowing out if we come to Jesus to quench our spiritual thirst. Evangelism will flourish in a church community where personal and corporate prayer and devotion is prevalent. Let’s think a bit more about this text from John 7.

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.’ (John 7:37-39)

WHAT ARE THESE RIVERS OF LIVING WATER?

What does it mean that ‘rivers of living water will flow from within you’? The rivers of living water are the work of the Holy Spirit flowing out from us. These are good works and good words inspired by the Spirit.


i. Good works: Things such as miracles, mercy, generosity, being ‘salt and light’ - affirmation of what is good and condemnation of evil.


ii. Good words: This is principally the gospel message that leads to salvation and transformation.


We see this river of the Spirit prophesied in Ezekiel 47,

“Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” (Ezekiel 47:12)

This is a marvellous vision of the work of the Spirit in and through us. As we come to Jesus to be filled with the Spirit, we will bear abundant fruit that serves our community with life and healing.


PRAY AND WORSHIP OUT OF THE BIBLE

In keeping with this aim of developing a personal relationship with God through prayer and worship out of the Bible, we’ll be developing our skill in meditation and prayer using the structure that we are taught in The Lord’s Prayer.


If you look at The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), you’ll see that it can be broken into 4 major themes of Praise (6:9), Petitions (6:10-11), Peace-making (Matthew 6:12) and Protection (Matthew 6:13).


Using the Lord’s prayer structure (below) to help you to pray through Ezekiel 47:12

“Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” (Ezekiel 47:12)

1. Praise - What does this text teach me about God? What can I praise Him for?

2. Petitions - What does this teach me about His will for me and others? What could I pray for from this text? This is a good time to pray for our non-believing. friends. It’s good to ask, Is the Holy Spirit leading me in any specific response?

3. Peace-making - Is the Holy Spirit convicting me of sin for which I need forgiveness? Do I need to forgive others?

4. Protection - Ask for God’s protection generally and for any specific areas of vulnerability. Am I believing lies regarding the truths in this text?


COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Let's be praying and actively preparing to invite friends to our carol service on 5th December. Please make sure this is in your diary

2. Icebreaker

How has God spoken to you from the Bible this week?



3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

Running up to our carol service on the 5th December we would like you to spend more time on the SIV (Serving, Invest and Invite) aspect of our time together. Therefore, there will only be fewer questions each week on the Sunday message so as to give plenty of time for praying and sharing about our mission.


On Sunday, we completed the third part of our vision series. Our vision of ‘Bringing people to Jesus - Myself, One-Anther and My Community. This comes out of what we read in John 7:37-38.

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”’ (John 7:37-38)

During this brief series, we’ve been weaving in the words that are spoken of Peter and John,

‘When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.’ (Acts 4:13)

Our message on Sunday was principally focused on how we can help to bring our community to Jesus - reach the people and places that God has given to us.


Firstly, it's as we spend time with Jesus personally and together that the mercy of God and the message of the gospel will flow out of us to our community. People will 'take note' and be 'astonished' if we will seek Jesus in prayer personally and together.


Secondly, we must take faith action. We also talked about our strategy of 'SIV' - Serve, Invest and Invite. We are to prayerfully seek to take practical action to help to bring people to Jesus. Prayer needs to be followed up with loving action in the places and relationships that God has put us into.


Discussion questions

1. Of the three aspects of our vision - Myself, One Another and My Community - which do you find hardest and why?

2. Why does effective evangelism begin with personal and corporate prayer?

3. Did God speak to you, or what do you plan to do in response to Sunday's message or this vision series as a whole?

4. SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories or any plans in this regard?

5. SIV - Who are you planning to invite to the carol service on 5th December?

6. Prayer - Let's spend some time in prayer regarding this week's message and anything else that you would like to pray about.






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